We went to Mother Kelly’s in Bethnal Green for the first time last night (it’s only been open a couple of weeks) and it’s LOVELY! Twenty-odd taps of well-kept keg (including seven last night from De Molen), six fridges of well selected bottles and red, white and fizzy wine on tap too!
The space (why yes, it *is* in a railway arch) is bright and airy, the tables well spread out (I suspect this may change as it becomes more popular, there’s certainly room for more) and on a spring evening it feels just right.
Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s FTABCANYPC time!
This year for our 14th crawl we will be having a little saunter around Islington.
Every year, on the 29th (except when it wasn’t) we go an a merry trail around a list of pubs, many of which may be closed, to appreciate the architecture, and, you know, maybe drink. This year’s route takes us from one end of Penton Street to the other, but via a somewhat circuitous route (not as bad as when first planned when we were going to go via The North Pole!)
The route is as follows:
3pm: The Lexington
4pm: Shakespeare’s Head
5pm: Earl Of Essex
5.45pm: Wenlock & Essex
6.30: Camden Head
7:30: Steam Passage
8:30 Craft N1
Although, as always, this is a rough timetable and route as It Is Written that at least one pub on the planned route shall be closed (hopefully we’ll do better than last year when I think we ended up losing three of the original pubs…). If you’re following me or pete on twitter I’m sure we’ll keep up a running commentary of where we are if we go off-piste.
The other week when we were planning I got a bit bored so you can now see the glory of all 13 previous crawls in one handy google map. I think there may be a couple of inaccuracies, as several of these were based on planned routes, not actual (for some reason there’s not a lot of Reporting Back compared to planning, even in the Imperial Phase of ilx) particularly the Marylebone (2008) and City (2010) ones where I’m pretty sure I’ve got a couple wrong. I think it’s kind of more interesting where we *haven’t* been, although Fitzrovia and Soho were covered extensively by Trig Brother (and were our usual early 00s haunts).
Welcome back to part 2! See here for part 1.
5.58pm. A quick beverage pH check before the next round of experiments: the acidity of prosecco is 3, Badger’s Fursty Ferret is 4, a substance known as ‘Sainsbury’s Craft Brewed Lager’ is also 4.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend your band of trusty FT regulars held (by our reckoning) the SIXTH Freaky Trigger Food Science Day, a combination of careful experiments and shockingly bad puns, dedicated to our friend and FT poster Liz Daplyn.
2pm. Scientists begin to arrive at Laboratoire Crouch Hill, carrying with them various alcoholic liquids, pastry ingredients, gothic substances and a metric fvcktonne of cheese (or at least a close approximation of cheese). Time for the first experiment!
To say at the start, I did eventually enjoy my Saturday afternoon at London’s Brewing and I have definitely been to events more badly organised (Glastonbury 2007 springs immediately to mind), but to my mind some of the criticism has been a bit rabid, I’m not sure what place Trading Standards have in this discussion? I’m not sure why people were expecting to be able to swan up to the bar at a sold out event, and one that they’ve probably only paid £4 to get into (£15 ticket minus 3 pints at £3.80-£4.00) at that.
All that said, the first two hours were a shambles, here’s why:
Actually, I’m not sure this is totally universal to the site; some of our most esteemed contributors fall into the strangely misguided category of ‘mustard hatas.’ Even so, I would hope that even the most vehement detractor of the second most important food group would say that there is something brilliant about cress-that-is-actually-mustard.
I shall quietly grumble about this no more. The time has come for a wobbly to be thrown ungracefully across the laminated floor tiles of the internet about a terrible injustice being done to our nation’s fauna and flora.
As the hedgerows are decimated, another important ecosystem is dying. An unsavoury and slightly scary one and one I would not want to put my face near (then again I’m not that keen on having my nose bitten off by a badger, either) but one that is necessary for certain aspects of modern life: the pub carpet.
Here at FT Towers we enjoy a tipple or two – inevitably this often turns into One Too Many and fate finds your hapless correspondents firmly planted within the bin.
Ah, the bin of ruin! Some of us have visited the bin so many times we could get our own Bin Passport and live there for ever.
BUT! If you’re permanently in the bin, what do you do when you sober up?
One of the pubs unfortunately missed from our ‘tween christmas and new year pub crawl, for to because it was shut, partly due I suspect to lack of passing trade over the festive period, but also to finish off their very nice renovation work, The Old Fountain, tucked away between Silicon Roundabout and Moorfields Eye Hospital, could secretly be one of the best pubs in London. OK, so it’s been in the Good Beer Guide for five years, but I think it’s massively come on even in the last 18 months. East London CAMRA have been praising it for a while, but it barely gets a mention in Hip Guides To London’s Great Pubs.
The beer is, of course, excellent, with usually 6-8 taps on, but they seem to really push the boat out in getting the specials from Darkstar, Brodies, Ascot and others, although occasionally this can lead to hop bomb overload, there’s usually a decent mix. The bar food is also pretty special, the salt beef sandwich (and I realise this may be regarded as heresy) is as good if not better than the Royal Oak’s, and certainly the equal of the erstwhile Wenlock buttie. They do pulled pork buns too, and a couple of other things, but i’ve never managed to order anything that wasn’t the salt beef…
Oh, and did i mention they usually have around FOURTEEN different kernel bottles in the fridge? it’s the biggest range I can think of that doesn’t involve visiting a railway arch…
You can see what they’ve got on the bar at @OldFountainAles
The Annual Tween Christmas and New Year Pub Crawl 2011: The City Road FTSE Index (THURSDAY 29TH DECEMBER)
I am not in the business of wishing Christmas away already, but there is one festive highlight which is still not done to death by the BBC, namely the annual festive pub crawl. Between Christmas and New Year the thoughts go to drinking, and what is now the Eleventh Annual Between Christmas and New Year Pub Crawl. And after last years frankly tiny journey around the City, we thought we would have a bit more of a challenge. So the longest physical walk of any of our pub crawls Stretching from Angel to Shoreditch, up and down the City Road, and yes, in and out of the Eagle. And this is what it looks like (click through for a bigger version).
You can see the shape up there and it almost completely mirrors the movements of the FTSE share index this year.